Diseases Current Affairs - 2020

More accurate test for early detection of Down’s syndrome developed

Researchers at the King’s College London have claimed to have developed a more accurate test for Down’s syndrome which can also be given earlier in pregnancy than current tests.

The newly developed testing method in non-invasive and involves the test of foetal DNA in maternal blood to find the possibility of Down’s in the baby with high accuracy. Unlike existing tests, the latest technique has no chances of causing miscarriage. It could reduce the number of high risk women needing an invasive test by adding an extra level of screening.

Current Tests:

In UK, all the pregnant women are offered Down’s testing. These tests initially use ultrasound, during which a pocket of fluid at the back of a baby’s neck – the nuchal translucency – is measured. Babies with Down’s syndrome tend to have more fluid than normal. If it shows positive, the women are advised to undergo further testing like Amniocentesis or Chorionic Villus Sampling which are invasive procedure and carry 1% chance of miscarriage.

What is Down’s syndrome?

Down’s syndrome, also known as trisomy 21, is a genetic disorder caused by the presence of all or part of a third copy of chromosome 21.Down’s syndrome is the most common chromosome abnormality in humans.It is typically associated with a delay in cognitive ability (mental retardation, or MR) and physical growth, and a particular set of facial characteristics.

Effects of Down’s on IQ:

The average IQ of young adults with Down syndrome is around 50, whereas young adults without the condition typically have an IQ of 100.A large proportion of individuals with Down syndrome have a severe degree of intellectual disability.

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45% of deaths of under-five children caused by malnutrition: Report

As per a latest report published in The Lancet, malnutrition has been blamed to be the reason behind the deaths of nearly 45% children under-five.

As per the research report:

  • Malnutrition is responsible for around 3.1 million deaths in children under five every year.
  • Stunting (reduced growth) affected at least 165 million children worldwide in 2011 while at least 52 million children were affected by wasting (low weight for height), and 100 million children were underweight.
  • Over 90% of these were in Asia or Africa, with Africa the only major world region where the number of children with stunting increased.
  • In 2012, a study report titled HUNGaMA brought shame to the nation by revealing the grim picture of nutrition in India. The study was conducted on more than one lakh children across six States of India which found that as many as 42% of under-fives were severely or moderately underweight and that 59% of them suffered from moderate to severe stunting.
  • Undernutrition affects development of a child, with consequences ranging from poorer school performance to increased susceptibility to infectious disease.
  • Low-and middle-income countries also face the problem of maternal under-nutrition which leads to premature birth and stunted growth which in turn makes the infant vulnerable to several diseases. Maternal undernutrition is estimated to be responsible for more than a quarter of all newborn deaths.
  • The consequences of malnutrition, including stunting, wasting and underweight (low weight for age), all of which result in increased risk of death and illness for both pregnant women and children.
  • Deficiencies of vitamin A and zinc result in deaths; deficiencies of iodine and iron, together with stunting, can contribute to children not reaching their developmental potential.
  • Suboptimum breastfeeding results in an increased risk for mortality in the first 2 years of life.
  • Maternal overweight and obesity result in increased maternal morbidity and infant mortality.
  • Childhood overweight is becoming an increasingly important contributor to adult obesity, diabetes, and non-communicable diseases.

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